Politics
Three sacked HDP mayors from Savur, Derik and Mazıdağı districts of Mardin have been arrested as part of ongoing terrorism investigations. The HDP had on Nov. 20 called for an early election to protest the government’s dismissal of its mayors.
Turkey will continue its operation in northern Syria until its "goals are reached," the country's National Security Council said in a statement on Nov. 26. The council also said Turkey expects the U.S. and Russia to fulfill their agreements with Ankara as soon as possible to clear the YPG from the region.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) executives have said that party members who initiate a quarrel with fellow members will be expelled from the party in a bid not to damage the party reputation. The CHP has adopted this stance in the aftermath of a recent crisis that emerged over claims that a senior party member had secretly met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
All of the political parties' representatives in the Turkish parliament have agreed on the removal of the name of Kenan Evren from streets, schools, villages, neighborhoods, barracks and districts. Evren led a military coup in 1980 in Turkey and then imposed the harshest repression in the country's history.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said that there's a rift between the PKK and its Syrian affiliate YPG, adding that he finds the attitudes of the HDP and the PKK towards SDF chief Mazloum Kobani "interesting." "They should embrace this man, who is being tried to be legalized internationally, but they don't," he said.
The MHP has slammed calls for early elections, with its leader saying that those who make the call are trying to lead Turkey into uncertainties. "The love for ballot boxes of those who can't stomach the results of elections will continue until they are elected, which doesn't seem possible," the party's Secretary-General said in a written statement.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and journalist Rahmi Turan over an alleged meeting, saying that the main opposition leader should quit his post if he can't prove his claims. "Lies haven't entered our lives, but their whole lives are lies," Erdoğan said of the CHP leader.
Following a number major defeats in this year's local elections, particularly in Istanbul and Ankara, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has began the process for its 7th Extraordinary Congress, in which the party seeks to renew itself. The congress will consist of two wings: one will be involved with instructing certain provincial party leaders to resign, while the other will seek out new provincial leaders and executives.
A column alleging that a meeting between Erdoğan and an "important" politician from the CHP took place in the presidential palace continues to top Turkish politicans' agendas, with a row erupting between the main opposition and the government. "Erdoğan, in his 43 years in politics, has never intervened in the internal affairs of another party," said Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, while CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu accused Erdoğan of trying to disband the CHP.
Turkish Interior Ministry's budget talks for 2020 became the scene of a brawl between deputies of the ruling AKP and the opposition, with Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu calling Felicity Party lawmaker Cihangir İslam a "traitor" and a "provocateur," following the MP's criticisms aimed at the government about human rights and "jailing of opponents on terror charges."
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP has called for an early election to be held in the country. The call comes after the authorities have removed 24 mayors of the party since August. "We say 'early election' for the peoples of Turkey to be rid of the AKP-MHP authority. This is a call for confrontation," the party said in a 12-point declaration on Nov. 20.
Allegations of an opposition newspaper columnist that a prominent CHP figure recently met with President Erdoğan, who offered help to install the figure as the new head of the CHP, sparked debate inside the main opposition party.
The European Union has decided to cut €85 million in the pre-accession funds for Turkey, compared to the draft budget proposed by the European Commission. The Council of the European Union said that the reason of this cut was “the distancing of Turkey from EU values.”
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said that Turkey will have repatriated most of its ISIS detainees to their home countries by the end of the year. He also said that countries that revoked the citizenships of their nationals were violating international law.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has received the "2019 Award for Special Political Courage," with his wife attending the ceremony to get the award due to the former party co-leader being in jail. "I accept this award on behalf of all political prisoners in Turkey, female political prisoners in particular," Demirtaş said in the letter sent to the ceremony.
Editor's Picks
duvar englis podcasts
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss the underlying factors behind the recent moves of Turkey's ruling alliance which paves the way for further polarization in politics as the country enters the final months of 2020. They also analyze the effects of the sharp decline of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies over public's perception.
Dinçer Demirkent writes: Interior Minister Soylu said that the head of the Constitutional Court would be unable to commute to work without his protection team. What he meant was that he was the Minister who assigned the security team to the judge, implying he might just remove them. By doing so, Süleyman Soylu openly violates the article 138 of the Turkish Constitution; basic principle for the independence of the judiciary.
Politics
Turkey's opposition parties have criticized the detention of HDP members CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel deemed the detentions "an intimidation operation" and asked the government whether new evidence was reached regarding the Kobane protests that happened six years ago. According to Özel, the recent detentions are attempts of the government to shift people's focus from the crumbling economy.
Turkish police on Sept. 25 detained some 20 HDP members, including Kars Co-Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, over 2014 violent protests against the siege by ISIS of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane. Detention warrants were issued for a total of 82 people in seven provinces. Those sought were in the MYK of the party at the time of the protests.
A group of opposition politicians slammed the construction of a 90-million-lira prison with a lake view in the eastern province of Van which government officials deemed "an investment." The opposition noted that the region has far more pressing needs than prisons and that hundreds of jails have been already built in recent years in Turkey.
Greek women from the Women's Initiative for Peace (WINPEACE) have slammed two Greek tabloids for their reports on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan allegedly having had an extramarital relationship with an actress. "We believe the fact that two newspapers in Greece, however marginal, have in the last week decided on publishing insulting, misogynist, shameful headlines, denigrating all human values is a despicable attempt to sabotage any positive developments," they said in a statement.
Turkey's Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects Chambers (TMMOB) has said that some 14 parcels on the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) land near the university masjid (prayer room for Muslims) have been zoned for construction. The architects urged the university administration to clarify the parcels' allocation and asked whether the land in question will be used for a mosque construction.
Turkey's depletion of foreign exchange reserves and the fact that a majority of its forex reserves are swap lines has created mass distrust in the economy, Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) Chairman Simone Kaslowski said. Turkey needs to “ensure full market confidence” to attract long-term financing flows, Kaslowski said during a videoconference on Sept. 24.
Works to excavate an ancient Roman bath in Turkey's Central Anatolian province of Yozgat have been stopped due to lack of financial funding. The area is now fenced off, and visitors are barred from entry.
İsmail Tarman Middle School in İstanbul's Beşiktaş district still remains closed despite four court rulings to reverse the school's status as religious İmam Hatip school. The rulings should have enabled for the school's reopening as a standard middle school, but the courts' decisions have not been enforced and the school's doors remain closed.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tore into President Donald Trump on Sept. 24 after he declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the presidential election in November. “You are not in North Korea, you are not in Turkey, you are not in Russia, Mr. President. You are in the United States of America, it is a democracy, so why don’t you just try for a moment to honor your oath of office, to the Constitution of the United States?” she said.
The governor's office in the Black Sea province of Giresun banned smoking cigarettes in public spaces on the grounds that it required removing face masks, hence risking the spread of COVID-19. The province will fine those smoking in the streets, parks or any other public spaces.
Turkey's largest seller of fish, Dardanel reportedly discriminated against Roma women who applied for positions at a factory. While the women weren't even called in for an interview, the company blamed the incident on the contracting hiring firm.
One of the Turkish Aegean Riviera's most pristine areas, Gökova Bay was rezoned to allow construction along with nearby Marmaris and Milas. Muğla Mayor Osman Gürün said that the rezoning threatens construction of 25,000 hectares of land, and that the are would effectively "cease to exist."
The Turkish parliament has failed to debate in its general session any draft bills prepared by any party other than the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the past two legislative sessions, daily Cumhuriyet reported. The AKP presented some 249 draft bills, 100 of which were reported on by the relevant commissions, while one of the CHP's 2,148 draft bills were investigated by commissions.
The Kızılırmak Delta Wetland and Bird Sanctuary in the Black Sea province of Samsun has observed raging fires since the reversal of its "protected area" status. While a part of the delta was transferred to the property of the government, environmentalists suspect the fires were started intentionally.
Local medical device companies have warned the Turkish Health Ministry that if debts owed by the government hospitals remain unpaid, there could be a “disruption in the health services” starting as early as in October. The Turkish Medical Equipment and Devices Manufacturers Association (TÜDER) has said that local medical firms have been waiting for the last 16 months to get their payment which has reached to around $26 billion Turkish Liras ($3.4 billion) in total.
Turkish Justice Ministry has dismissed a parliamentary question on the release of a rapist soldier for being "offensive." Uca in her question asked Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül to reveal the reason for why former specialized sergeant Musa Orhan was released despite raping İpek Er. The ministry said that the question can be accepted if the terms found "crude and offensive" are removed.
Turkey reportedly didn't apprehend ISIS militant Yunus Durmaz responsible for deadly attacks in Turkey despite determining his location 19 times between April 29 and May 19, 2016. Durmaz, who was sought over the attacks in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, the Suruç district of the southeastern province of Urfa, the capital Ankara and Istanbul's Taksim, blew himself up during a police raid on an ISIS cell in 2016.
Economy
Turkey's Central Bank unexpectedly hiked interest rates on Sept. 24, triggering an improvement in the lira's value against the dollar. The Turkish Lira has sunk to record lows over the past month as Ankara's currency interventions proved futile.
Turkey's state-owned Halkbank has urged a judge to dismiss a U.S. indictment accusing the bank of helping Iran evade American sanctions. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 18, a lawyer for Halkbank said its status as a Turkish “instrumentality” shielded it from prosecution because of sovereign immunity.
U.S. tech giant Amazon offered up its speed-delivery subscription to Turkish consumers on Sept. 15. The monthly subscription fee was set for 7.99 Turkish Liras, about one dollar with the current exchange rates.
Turkey's unemployment rate rose to 13.4 percent. and participation edged up in the May-July period in which a coronavirus lockdown was lifted and a ban on layoffs remained in place, data showed on Sept. 10, painting a clearer picture of the pandemic's fallout.
Urban Beat
Istanbulites will select the new face of Taksim Square from among three projects as part of the Istanbul Municipality's plans to renovate the area. Şerif Süveydan, Bünyamin Derman and Kutlu İnanç Bal were the winners in the contest that was held by Istanbul Planning Agency and Istanbul Municipality's Department of Cultural Assets.
The Odunpazarı Modern Museum in western Eskişehir won the award for "international project of the year over £1m" at the London Museums+Heritage Awards. The museum opened its doors just over a year ago in the city's ancient Odunpazarı neighborhood.
The 48th Istanbul Music Festival will be held online, streaming pre-recorded performances in historical venues. Starting on Sept. 18, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will make available the performances that honor composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
Heavy presence of the Asian tiger mosquito was detected in four Istanbul districts, concerning locals as the bug can carry malaria, the Zika virus and encephalitis. The invasive species have been increasing in population around Istanbul in the past decade, an Istanbul University veterinarian said.
Ali Demir writes: So the property of the local non-Muslims collapsed, and what happened? Nothing! The whole country is now composed of non-local foreigners. The greedy tailor apprentice that murdered his master could not sew a jacket, and will never be able to.